Blogs | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Google's New Diversity Stats Are Only Slightly Less Embarrassing Than They Were Last Year http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/google-diversity-statistics-barely-impoved <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Around this time last year, Google shocked Silicon Valley by voluntarily <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/media/2014/05/google-diversity-labor-gender-race-gap-workers-silicon-valley" target="_blank">releasing statistics</a> on the diversity of its workforce. The move helped shame other large tech companies into doing the same, and the picture that emerged wasn't pretty: In most cases, only 10 percent of the companies' overall employees were black or Latino, compared to 27 percent in the US workforce as a whole. For its own part, Google <a href="http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2014/05/getting-to-work-on-diversity-at-google.html" target="_blank">admitted</a> that "we're miles from where we want to be," and pledged to do more to cultivate minority and female tech talent.</p> <p>Now Google has an update: Its 2015 diversity stats, <a href="http://www.google.com/diversity/" target="_blank">released yesterday</a>, show that it has moved inches, not miles, toward a workforce that reflects America. The representation of female techies ticked up by 1 percentage point (from 17 to 18 percent), Asians gained 1 point, and whites, though still the majority, slipped by 1 point. Otherwise, the numbers are unchanged:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/google-chart.WEB_.gif"><div class="caption">Google</div> </div> <p>"With an organization our size, year-on-year growth and meaningful change is going to take time," Nancy Lee, Google's vice president of people operations, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jun/02/googles-staff-worldwide-still-overwhelmingly-white-and-asian-men?CMP=share_btn_tw" target="_blank">told</a> the <em>Guardian</em>. Last year, Google spent $115 million on diversity initiatives and dispatched its own engineers to historically black colleges and universities to teach introductory computer science courses and help graduating students prepare for job searches. But unlike Intel, another big tech company that has prioritized diversity, Google has not set firm goals for diversifying its talent pool.</p> <p>"While every company cannot match Intel's ambitious plan, they can set concrete, measurable goals, targets, and timetables,"&nbsp;said a statement from the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who last year played a key role in convincing Google and other companies to disclose their diversity stats. "If they don't measure it, they don't mean it."</p></body></html> MoJo Charts Race and Ethnicity Tech google Tue, 02 Jun 2015 20:36:48 +0000 Josh Harkinson 276446 at http://www.motherjones.com Don't Pay Attention to Obamacare Rate Increase Horror Stories http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/06/dont-pay-attention-obamacare-rate-increase-horror-stories <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I wrote about this once before, but it's worth repeating: don't pay too much attention to scare stories about gigantic increases in Obamacare premiums next year. Insurers that request increases of more than 10 percent are required to get clearance from state and federal regulators, which means that the only increase requests that are public right now are the ones over 10 percent. <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2015/06/02/obamacare_2016_premiums_insurers_ask_for_big_rate_hikes.html" target="_blank">Jordan Weissman explains what this means:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;Trying to gauge the average premium hike from just the biggest increases is like measuring the average height of the public by looking at N.B.A. players,&rdquo; Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Foundation told the <em>Times</em>. Moreover, some states may ultimately end up rejecting the gaudiest requests if they're deemed unjustified.</p> <p>How skewed is the federal database? Here's one telling illustration from ACAsignups.net founder Charles Gaba. In Washington State, 17 insurers submitted health plans for next year, requesting an average rate increase of 5.4 percent. Only three of those companies asked for a big enough hike to show up on the federal rate review site. Together, they requested bumps averaging 18 percent, more than three times larger than the actual statewide mean. That gap should make everyone think twice before drawing conclusions from yesterday's data dump.</p> </blockquote> <p>This will be the first year in which insurance companies have a full year of experience with Obamacare to draw on. Does that mean it's possible that rates will go up a lot, now that they know what they're in for? Sure, it's possible. But so far there's really no evidence that the demographics of the Obamacare population are very different from what the companies expected. Nor are companies dropping out of Obamacare. In fact, in most states competition is increasing. All that suggests that Obamacare premiums will rise at a fairly normal rate next year. For the time being, then, don't pay too much attention to the Fox News horror stories. We've heard them all before.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 02 Jun 2015 18:24:49 +0000 Kevin Drum 276421 at http://www.motherjones.com Mike Huckabee Wishes He Lied About Being Transgender So He Could Have Showered with High School Girls http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/mike-huckabee-transgender <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>While speaking at a religious convention in Nashville earlier this year, Mike Huckabee's trademark <a href="https://twitter.com/adamsmithtimes/status/605735618509975552" target="_blank">candor</a> reached a new level of absurdity, as he joked about wishing he&nbsp;"could have felt like a woman" back in high school&hellip;in order to get access to female locker rooms.</p> <p>"Now I wish that someone told me that when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in PE," <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/meganapper/huckabee-on-transgender-people-i-wish-i-couldve-said-i-was-t#.qlBYbz0op" target="_blank">Huckabee said on stage</a> at the 2015 National Religious Broadcasters Convention&nbsp;back in February. "I'm pretty sure that I would have found my feminine side and said, 'Coach, I think I'd rather shower with the girls today.'"</p> <p>The remarks, reported by <em><a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/meganapper/huckabee-on-transgender-people-i-wish-i-couldve-said-i-was-t#.qlBYbz0op" target="_blank">BuzzFeed</a></em> on Tuesday, were meant&nbsp;to warn the crowd about Americans' growing tolerance of the transgender community and &nbsp;support for laws protecting transgender people's access to the restroom of their choice.</p> <p>"For those who do not think that we are under threat, simply recognize the fact that we are now in city after city watching ordinances say that your seven-year-old daughter&mdash;if she goes into the restroom&mdash;cannot be offended and you can&rsquo;t be offended if she's greeted there by a 42-year-old man who feels more like a woman than he does a man," he said.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/unR7hfEnR6E" style="line-height: 2em;" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>For more on the conservative assault on where transgender people use the bathroom, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/03/transgender-bathroom-discrimination-bills" target="_blank">check out our primer here. </a></p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Gay Rights Tue, 02 Jun 2015 18:17:20 +0000 Inae Oh 276411 at http://www.motherjones.com FIFA President Sepp Blatter Resigns Amid Corruption Scandal http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/06/breaking-fifa-president-sepp-blatter-resigns-amid-corruption-scandal <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>FIFA President Sepp Blatter <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/03/sports/soccer/sepp-blatter-to-resign-as-fifa-president.html" target="_blank">announced</a> Tuesday that he will step down after 17 years at the head of soccer's international governing body, in the wake of a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/media/2015/05/fifa-corruption-sepp-blatter-historian" target="_blank">corruption probe</a> that has rattled the sport. In a press conference, Blatter called for a special election to find his replacement, just days after he was elected to a fifth term.</p> <p>Here's an excerpt of <a href="http://resources.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/footballgovernance/02/61/77/26/presidentaddress2jun15_final_neutral.pdf" target="_blank">Blatter's resignation letter</a>:&nbsp;</p> <blockquote> <p>I have been reflecting deeply about my presidency and about the forty years in which my life has been inextricably bound to FIFA and the great sport of football. I cherish FIFA more than anything and I want to do only what is best for FIFA and for football. I felt compelled to stand for re-election, as I believed that this was the best thing for the organization. That election is over but FIFA&rsquo;s challenges are not. FIFA needs a profound overhaul. While I have a mandate from the membership of FIFA, I do not feel that I have a mandate from the entire world of football &ndash; the fans, the players, the clubs, the people who live, breathe and love football as much as we all do at FIFA. Therefore, I have decided to lay down my mandate at an extraordinary elective Congress. I will continue to exercise my functions as FIFA President until that election.</p> </blockquote></body></html> Mixed Media International Sports Tue, 02 Jun 2015 17:13:35 +0000 Edwin Rios 276406 at http://www.motherjones.com Is Campaign Finance Reform Really the Key to Winning the White Working Class? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/06/campaign-finance-reform-really-key-winning-white-working-class <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Stan Greenberg says that white working-class voters aren't lost to the Democratic Party. In fact, most of them strongly support a progressive agenda in the mold of Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders. The problem is that they don't trust the system, and they want to see reform <em>first</em>, before they're willing to vote for Democratic candidates <a href="http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/junejulyaugust_2015/features/the_average_joes_proviso055824.php?page=all" target="_blank">with expansive social welfare programs:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Three-quarters of voters in the twelve most competitive Senate battleground states in 2014&mdash;states flooded with campaign money&mdash;support a constitutional amendment to overturn the <em>Citizens United</em> ruling. Three in five <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/images/blog_money_elections.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">of those voters support &ldquo;a plan to overhaul campaign spending by getting rid of big donations and allowing only small donations to candidates, matched by taxpayer funds.&rdquo;</p> <p>....Yet most important for our purposes are the results for white unmarried women and working-class women. These groups both put a &ldquo;streamline government&rdquo; initiative ahead of everything except protecting Social Security and Medicare. They want to &ldquo;streamline government and reduce waste and bureaucracy to make sure every dollar spent is a dollar spent serving people, not serving government.&rdquo; They gave even greater importance than white working-class men to streamlining government. For these women, being on the edge means feeling more strongly that government should pinch pennies and start working for them.</p> <p>....What really strengthens and empowers the progressive economic narrative, however, is a commitment to reform politics and government. That may seem ironic or contradictory, since the narrative calls for a period of government activism. But, of course, it does make sense: Why would you expect government to act on behalf of the ordinary citizen when it is clearly dominated by special interests? Why would you expect people who are financially on the edge, earning flat or falling wages and paying a fair amount of taxes and fees, not to be upset about tax money being wasted or channeled to individuals and corporations vastly more wealthy and powerful than themselves?</p> </blockquote> <p>I'll admit to some skepticism here. Are working-class voters, white or otherwise, really pining away for campaign finance reform? The evidence of the past 40 years sure doesn't seem to suggest this is a big winner. Still, times have changed, and the influence of big money has become far more obvious and far more insidious than in the past. Maybe this really is a winner.</p> <p>As for streamlining government, my only question is: where's the beef? That is, what kind of concrete plan are we talking about here? "Streamlining" seems a little too fuzzy to capture many votes.</p> <p>In any case, read the whole thing if this is the sort of thing you enjoy arguing about. It's food for thought at the very least. As for me, I'm off to see my doctor. I'll be back sooner or later depending on how streamlined his office is.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 02 Jun 2015 15:10:33 +0000 Kevin Drum 276396 at http://www.motherjones.com This Is How Miserably the TSA Is Failing at Airport Security http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/06/tsa-security-failure-investigation%20 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>An undercover investigation lead by the Department of Homeland Security uncovered devastating holes in the Transportation Security Administration's security procedures, with investigators able to smuggle fake explosives and banned weapons <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/ABCNews/exclusive-undercover-dhs-tests-find-widespread-security-failures/story?id=31434881&amp;utm_source=digg&amp;utm_medium=twitter" target="_blank">67 out of 70 times</a> at some of the country's busiest airports.</p> <p>"In one case, agents failed to detect a fake explosive taped to an agent's back, even after performing a pat down that was prompted after the agent set off the magnetometer alarm," ABC News reports.</p> <p>The alarming 95 percent failure rate, during an investigation that spanned a decade, has lead to the reassignment of the agency's chief Melvin Carraway.</p> <p>"The numbers in these reports never look good out of context but they are a critical element in the continual evolution of our aviation security," Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson <a href="http://www.dhs.gov/news/2015/06/01/statement-secretary-jeh-c-johnson-inspector-general-findings-tsa-security-screening" target="_blank">said in a statement.</a> "We take these findings very seriously in our continued effort to test, measure, and enhance our capabilities and techniques as threats evolve."</p> <p>Following the internal investigation, Johnson also ordered for more routine undercover investigations and mandatory retraining for all TSA officials.</p> <p>The full Homeland Security report is slated to be released later this <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/01/politics/tsa-failed-undercover-airport-screening-tests/index.html" target="_blank">summer. </a></p></body></html> Mixed Media Crime and Justice Guns International Tue, 02 Jun 2015 14:15:50 +0000 Inae Oh 276386 at http://www.motherjones.com Here Is a Study About Sad Little Men Having Affairs for Sad, Boring Reasons http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2015/06/the-moral-of-every-single-movie-is-people-who-commit-adultery-must-die <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Society tells us that men are supposed to go out into the world and earn the wages while women are supposed to stay at home and raise kids. Society, as many great thinkers have said, is stupid. It's all very 1950s and <a href="https://youtu.be/TSwpHel2_Kk?t=3m16s" target="_blank"><em>Revolutionary Road</em></a> and most people not from the fever swamp would acknowledge that these gender roles are detrimental to the world and terrible and dumb. Still, the pernicious effects remain in our psyche! Now, you can either believe that even the most enlightened people are still sick on some deep down interior level, or you can be the sort of person who doesn't believe things, but either way it's true.</p> <p>How true is it? <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/01/living/infidelity-men-women-breadwinners-feat/" target="_blank">This true</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>This new study, <a href="http://www.asanet.org/journals/asr/american_sociological_review.cfm" target="_blank">showcased in the June issue of the American Sociological Review</a>, found that men who are 100% economically dependent on their spouses were most at risk for cheating, three times more at risk than women married to male breadwinners.</p> <p>While, on average, women who are completely financially dependent on their husbands face about a 5% chance that they will stray, there is about a 15% chance that a man married to a female breadwinner will cheat, the study concluded.</p> <p>"I think it has to do with our cultural notions of what it means to be a man and what ... the social expectations are for masculinity," the study author, Christin Munsch, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut, told CNN.</p> <p>Being economically dependent on their wives may threaten their manhood, Munsch said, and having an affair is a way to re-establish their masculinity, even if it's all done subconsciously.</p> </blockquote> <p>God is a lazy screenwriter.</p> <p><strong>UPDATE:&nbsp;</strong></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-cards="hidden" data-conversation="none" data-partner="tweetdeck"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="https://twitter.com/bendreyfuss">@bendreyfuss</a> Are the men who depend entirely on their woman financially the ones you're calling "the most enlightened people"?</p> &mdash; Mark (@markadams44) <a href="https://twitter.com/markadams44/status/605521610951393280">June 1, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>No.</p></body></html> Contributor Ben's Thoughts Mon, 01 Jun 2015 22:52:01 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 276371 at http://www.motherjones.com San Francisco Moves to Require Health Warnings on Soda Ads http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/06/san-francisco-will-now-include-sugar-warnings-soda-ads <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Sugar has <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/03/how-much-food-is-6-teaspoons-of-sugar" target="_blank">invaded</a> just about every part of our diet (Americans consume an estimated five times the amount of added sugar <a href="http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/sugar-guideline/en/" target="_blank">recommended</a> by the World Health Organization), and it's making us sick. Too much added sugar can <a href="http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/eating-too-much-added-sugar-increases-the-risk-of-dying-with-heart-disease-201402067021" target="_blank">lead to heart disease</a> and myriad other health issues, and research <a href="http://www.sugarscience.org/sugar-sweetened-beverages/#.VWy5PKYnikM" target="_blank">suggests</a> sugar in liquid form is worst of all for you.</p> <p>That's why today San Francisco lawmakers <a href="http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Sweet-spot-at-land-use-meeting-to-watch-dustup-6295994.php" target="_blank">discussed</a> requiring soda advertisements to include a health warning. It would read, "WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message from the City and County of San Francisco."</p> <p>Other proposed ordinances <a href="https://sfgov.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=A&amp;ID=400743&amp;GUID=E1C49D3B-459B-4448-8862-3F895C431852" target="_blank">would prohibit</a> the advertising of sugar-sweetened drinks on city property and ban their purchase with city funds or grants. These measures would be the first of their kind taken by an American city.</p> <p>As expected, the sugar industry is not happy about them. Last year, it spent more than $10 million campaigning against a San Francisco <a href="http://ballotpedia.org/City_of_San_Francisco_Sugary_Drink_Tax,_Proposition_E_%28November_2014%29" target="_blank">ballot measure</a> to tax sugary beverages, and, <a href="http://www.mercurynews.com/health/ci_27689058/" target="_blank">according to the <em>San Jose Mercury News</em></a>, industry groups are prepared to fight these ordinances, as well.</p> <p>CalBev, the trade group representing California's nonalcoholic beverage industry, <a href="https://media.gractions.com/4428E85028285044B7446EE5FD5B982E395FE732/4726acc3-7fdb-4849-8935-b537171699e5.pdf" target="_blank">called</a> the proposals "anti-consumer choice" and said the warnings would not improve health and instead mislead and confuse consumers.</p> <p>San Francisco supervisor Malia Cohen, who introduced the soda ordinances along with fellow supervisors Scott Wiener and Eric Mar, has a different perspective. "Soda companies are spending billions of dollars every year to target low-income and minority communities, which also happen to be some of the communities with the highest risks of Type II diabetes," she said in a statement. "This ban on soda advertising will help bridge this existing health inequity."</p> <p>Wiener added, "These health warning labels will give people the information they need to make informed choices about how these sodas are impacting their lives and the lives of people in their community."</p> <p>A hearing was held for the ordinances earlier today. Next, they will be brought to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for a vote.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Food and Ag Health Mon, 01 Jun 2015 22:36:31 +0000 Luke Whelan 276351 at http://www.motherjones.com Tracy Morgan Gives Emotional First Interview Since Fatal Car Crash http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/06/tracy-morgan-interview-crash <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Monday, Tracy Morgan sat down with Matt Lauer for his <a href="http://www.today.com/popculture/tracy-morgan-speaks-today-show-matt-lauer-first-interview-crash-t23521?cid=sm_fbn%3Fcid%3Dsm_fbn" target="_blank">first interview</a> since the devastating six-car <a href="https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=6&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CDcQFjAF&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2014%2F06%2F08%2Fnyregion%2Ftracy-morgan.html&amp;ei=N7NsVdTbHqawsATL8oDgDQ&amp;usg=AFQjCNEdOnM8ulPUx7aLMfCkUYf7DKFtkg&amp;sig2=6TVa-PPDcfEDYieLj5aVkQ" target="_blank">accident</a> that left him in critical condition and killed one of his friends,&nbsp;James McNair, nearly one year ago.</p> <p>"I can't believe I'm here," Morgan said "Just seeing the tragedy that happened&mdash;it just touches me."</p> <p>When speaking about the loss of McNair, Morgan started to cry. "He was a loving man and he was a warm man. He was a good man. It&rsquo;s just hard for me to see that he's gone. That's it."&nbsp;</p> <div style="position:relative; padding-bottom:63%; padding-bottom:-webkit-calc(56.25% + 50px); padding-bottom:calc(56.25% + 50px); height: 0;"><iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" src="http://www.today.com/offsite/tracy-morgan-i-watched-crash-every-day-on-youtube-454857283581" style="position:absolute; width: 100%; height: 100%;"></iframe></div> <p>The accident involved a truck driven by a Walmart employee and set off a long legal battle that was <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/23/us/tracy-morgan-wreck-lawsuit/" target="_blank">settled</a> just last month.</p> <p>"Bones heal, but the loss of my friend will never heal," Morgan said. "I'm happy that Walmart stepped up to the plate. They took full responsibility."</p></body></html> Mixed Media Media Mon, 01 Jun 2015 19:33:10 +0000 Inae Oh 276346 at http://www.motherjones.com Here Is Caitlyn Jenner's Stunning Vanity Fair Cover http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/06/here-caitlyn-jenners-stunning-vanity-fair-cover <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Caitlyn Jenner, the woman formerly known as Bruce Jenner of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" fame, made her public debut on the cover of <a href="http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2015/06/caitlyn-jenner-bruce-cover-annie-leibovitz" target="_blank"><em>Vanity Fair</em></a> on Monday. The beautiful portrait was shot by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz:</p> <center> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Caitlyn Jenner poses for Annie Leibovitz on the cover of Vanity Fair <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CallMeCaitlyn?src=hash">#CallMeCaitlyn</a> <a href="http://t.co/NRyh6R09RR">http://t.co/NRyh6R09RR</a> <a href="http://t.co/GO1ZgJJKBR">pic.twitter.com/GO1ZgJJKBR</a></p> &mdash; VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) <a href="https://twitter.com/VanityFair/status/605406096824647681">June 1, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> </center> <p>During a sit-down interview with <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/2020/fullpage/bruce-jenner-the-interview-30471558" target="_blank">Diane Sawyer</a> back in April, the former Olympian opened up about her transition into becoming a woman. "My whole life has been getting me ready for this," Jenner said.&nbsp;</p> <p>"Caitlyn doesn't have any secrets. As soon as the <em>Vanity Fair</em> cover comes out, I'm free," she said in an exclusive new video for the magazine.&nbsp;</p> <center> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0OwDp2LMVbg" width="630"></iframe></p> </center> <p>The cover hits newsstands on June 9.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> Mixed Media Gay Rights Media Mon, 01 Jun 2015 16:41:56 +0000 Inae Oh 276331 at http://www.motherjones.com SCOTUS Delivers Good News for Abusive Trolls http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/supreme-court-elonis-internet-trolls-first-amendment <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Trolls and libertarians rejoice. In a highly watched case that explored the tough question of what distinguishes protected free speech from illegal threats, the Supreme Court on Monday made it harder for the government to prosecute individuals who are making threatening statements toward others.</p> <p>The court voided the conviction of Anthony Elonis, who was found guilty of issuing unlawful threats over Facebook with rants that referred to killing his estranged wife. Elonis argued that his posts, which were presented as rap lyrics, were a form of expression protected by the First Amendment. He was convicted in federal district court in Pennsylvania under the "reasonable person" standard: Would a reasonable person consider Elonis' posts threatening?</p> <p>In a <a href="http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/13-983_7l48.pdf" target="_blank">7-2 decision</a>, Chief Justice John Roberts ruled that the reasonable person test wasn't sufficient for a criminal conviction like this one. Avoiding touchy First Amendment questions, the court determined that Elonis' posts should have been evaluated under a tougher standard that takes his mental state into account. That is, did he intend to follow through on his threats or did he know that his words would be seen as a threat?</p> <p>"Elonis's conviction was premised solely on how his posts would be viewed by a reasonable person, a standard&hellip;inconsistent with the conventional criminal conduct requirement of 'awareness of some wrongdoing,'" Roberts wrote. He noted that a criminal conviction could only be supported "if the defendant transmits a communication for the purpose of issuing a threat or with knowledge that the communication will be viewed as a threat."</p> <p>The case presented a difficult First Amendment question pitting freedom of expression against the freedom to not be threatened with violence. But the justices ducked the matter. The ruling was predicated on a statutory interpretation.</p> <p>Elonis was sentenced to 44 months in prison for threatening to harm and even kill his estranged wife in Facebook posts&mdash;threats that left his wife <a href="http://sblog.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/13-983-Elonis-Op.pdf" target="_blank">afraid for her safety</a>. Elonis fought the charges, arguing that he could not be imprisoned because he never intended to hurt his wife. A criminal conviction for someone who had no intent to harm, he contended, violated the Constitution's guarantee of freedom of speech. But the trial court disagreed and instructed the jury to use the reasonable-person standard.</p> <p>The federal government <a href="http://sblog.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/13-983-Elonis-Op.pdf" target="_blank">argued</a> that the reasonable person test is the best way to determine whether a statement is a threat. Its lawyers maintained that even if there is no intent to harm, such threats can severely disrupt the lives of those people targeted.</p> <p>Civil liberties groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, <a href="http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/publications/supreme_court_preview/BriefsV4/13-983_pet_amcu_aclu-etal.authcheckdam.pdf" target="_blank">supported Elonis</a>, fearing an encroachment on free-speech rights. Advocates for victims of domestic violence, though, argued that victims of domestic abuse "suffer the devastating psychological and economic effects of threats of violence, which their abusers deliver more and more often via social media," according to <a href="http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/publications/supreme_court_preview/BriefsV4/13-983_resp_amcu_nnedv-etal.authcheckdam.pdf" target="_blank">an amicus brief</a>. This brief, filed by the National Network to End Domestic Violence and a number of state-based anti-domestic-violence groups, argued that threats are often a precursor to actual violence.</p> <p>The Elonis case was argued before the court in early December and the justices took a full six months to decide the case. Roberts was joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, and the court's liberal wing. Justice Samuel Alito joined in part and dissented in part. Justice Clarence Thomas dissented.</p></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Crime and Justice Supreme Court Top Stories Mon, 01 Jun 2015 16:09:36 +0000 Pema Levy 276321 at http://www.motherjones.com Rand Paul Didn't Kill the Patriot Act http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/06/rand-paul-didnt-kill-patriot-act <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I was down with a stomach bug this weekend, so I didn't follow events in the Senate as closely as I usually would have. But Rand Paul sure seems to be getting a lot more credit than he deserves for how things went down. As near as I can tell:</p> <ul><li>Mitch McConnell just flat screwed up. He figured he could panic everyone into extending the Patriot Act by waiting until Sunday to reconvene the Senate, and he figured wrong.</li> <li>Rand Paul did indeed delay things by refusing unanimous consent to take up a compromise bill.</li> <li>But events went the way they did because a majority of the Senate opposed McConnell and wanted a compromise bill, not because of anything Rand Paul did.</li> <li>The upshot of Paul's actions is that the compromise bill has to wait until Tuesday for a vote, which means the Patriot Act will be expired for a couple of days. This is not really a big deal in anything other than symbolic terms. The compromise bill is going to be passed one way or another, and that would have been the case regardless of anything Paul did.</li> </ul><p>Am I missing something big here? I don't begrudge Paul getting some good press for what he did. Politics is theater, and Paul has worked hard to make this a front-page issue. Still, there just wasn't a majority in favor of extending the Patriot Act, and that's what made the difference.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 01 Jun 2015 15:22:41 +0000 Kevin Drum 276326 at http://www.motherjones.com Why Bernie Sanders Was Talking About "Fifty Shades of Grey" on "Meet the Press" http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/bernie-sanders-week <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>This wasn't the way Bernie Sanders expected to conclude the first week of his presidential campaign&mdash;comparing <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/05/young-bernie-sanders-liberty-union-vermont" target="_blank">a 1972 essay he wrote</a> for the <em>Vermont Free</em><em>man</em> to E.L. James' <em>Fifty Shades of Grey</em>. But the article, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/05/young-bernie-sanders-liberty-union-vermont" target="_blank">first reported</a> in <em>Mother Jones</em>, quickly caught fire because of its description of a woman who "fantasizes being raped," and by the weekend, Sanders had taken steps to renounce it.</p> <p>Per <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-05-31/bernie-sanders-compares-rape-fantasy-essay-to-fifty-shades-of-grey" target="_blank">Bloomberg</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>"This is a piece of fiction that I wrote in 1972, I think," the Vermont Senator said, appearing on Meet the Press. "That was 43 years ago. It was very poorly written and if you read it, what it was dealing with was gender stereotypes, why some men like to oppress women, why other women like to be submissive, you know, something like&nbsp;<em>Fifty Shades of Grey</em>."</p> </blockquote> <p>But if the 1972 essay ruined his media tour, it didn't do anything to suppress the enthusiasm of the progressive activists Sanders aims to make his base. Sanders spent his first week of the campaign speaking to overflow crowds across the Midwest (3,000 people in Minneapolis) and New Hampshire. And, evidently, he's turned some heads. Here's the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/01/us/politics/challenging-hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders-gains-momentum-in-iowa.html?_r=0" target="_blank"><em>New York Times</em></a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>DES MOINES &mdash; A mere 240 people live in the rural northeast Iowa town of Kensett, so when more than 300 crowded into the community center on Saturday night to hear Senator <a class="meta-per" href="http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/05/01/us/elections/bernie-sanders.html?inline=nyt-per" title="More articles about Bernard Sanders.">Bernie Sanders</a> of Vermont, many driving 50 miles, the cellphones of Democratic leaders statewide began to buzz.</p> <p>Kurt Meyer, the county party chairman who organized the event, sent a text message to Troy Price, the Iowa political director for Hillary Rodham Clinton. Mr. Price called back immediately.</p> </blockquote> <blockquote> <p>"Objects in your rearview mirror are closer than they appear," Mr. Meyer said he had told Mr. Price about Mr. Sanders. "Mrs. Clinton had better get out here."</p> </blockquote> <p>Clinton's strategy, to this point, has been to act as if her other prospective Democratic primary opponents don't exist. Sanders might have just changed that calculus.</p></body></html> MoJo Elections bernie sanders Mon, 01 Jun 2015 15:02:21 +0000 Tim Murphy 276306 at http://www.motherjones.com Watch John Oliver Issue a Scathing Takedown of FIFA's "Swiss Demon" President http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/06/john-oliver-fifa-sepp-blatter <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>One very prominent name was missing among the several high-ranking FIFA officials <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2015/05/soccer-soccer-soccer-soccer-soccer-soccer" target="_blank">indicted</a> on corruption and bribery charges last week. That person, of course, was FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who as John Oliver described on the latest <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qr6ar3xJL_Q" target="_blank">"Last Week Tonight,"</a> has "left a trail of devastation" under his watch as the organization's president.</p> <p>"No decision Blatter has overseen is more questionable than the 2022 World Cup being awarded to Qatar, because not only will the conditions be terrible to play in, but the number of migrant workers that have died in Qatar since the cup was announced has been staggering," Oliver said.</p> <p>Despite the new charges and Blatter's scandal-ridden reputation, he was actually reelected as president for a fifth term on Friday.</p> <p>"To truly kill a snake, you must cut off its head, or in this case its asshole," Oliver explained. Without Blatter's indictment, the host says no truly significant reforms can be made for the world's favorite sport.</p> <p>Watch Oliver make a plea to both U.S. officials and FIFA's long list of powerful sponsors to remove Blatter as president, once and for all:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qr6ar3xJL_Q" width="630"></iframe></p> <p id="update"><strong>UPDATE: Tuesday, June 2, 2015:</strong> Blatter has <span class="s1"><a href="http://mojo.ly/1IcUmCT" target="_blank">resigned</a></span>. Oliver has sent the "one perfect tweet" of this news cycle.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="fr">Champagne.... <a href="http://t.co/1S8shEcN6E">pic.twitter.com/1S8shEcN6E</a></p> &mdash; John Oliver (@iamjohnoliver) <a href="https://twitter.com/iamjohnoliver/status/605800436440768513">June 2, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></body></html> Mixed Media Media Sports Mon, 01 Jun 2015 13:36:55 +0000 Inae Oh 276301 at http://www.motherjones.com Country-Folk Artist Eilen Jewell Sings About Love and Dusty Roads http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/05/country-folk-artist-eilen-jewell-sings-about-love-and-dusty-roads <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><strong>Eilen Jewell<br><em>Sundown Over Ghost Town</em><br> Signature Sounds</strong><br> &nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" height="217" src="/files/SIG2076%20SUNDOWN%20OVER%20GHOST%20TOWN%201500x1500.jpg" width="217"></div> <p>A cabaret artist masquerading as a country-folk performer, Idaho's Eilen Jewell sings with an unhurried elegance that evokes late-night intimacies and dusty roads with equal skill. (A Billie Holiday tribute album wouldn't be inappropriate.) Though her fifth album consists entirely of original songs, <em>Sundown Over Ghost Town</em> feels like a welcome return to a set of classics you've known forever, gently touching on desire, loneliness, and the longing for home. Paced by guitarist Jerry Miller and steel guitarist Jake Hoffman, Jewell's underrated band gracefully mixes breezy rockers and luminous ballads without straining for effect. Perfect for fans of Madeleine Peyroux.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Music Mon, 01 Jun 2015 10:00:13 +0000 Jon Young 276161 at http://www.motherjones.com This Tweet About the Patriot Act Is Perfect http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2015/06/what-did-you-do-during-the-war-daddy-i-tweeted-honeybunch-you-know-on-twitter <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">12:00am - Patriot Act expires 12:01am - Sharia law replaces Constitution 12:02am - Starbucks closes, re-opens as chain of victory mosques</p> &mdash; Daniel Lin (@DLin71) <a href="https://twitter.com/DLin71/status/605162257526452225">June 1, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></body></html> Contributor Mon, 01 Jun 2015 04:38:26 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 276296 at http://www.motherjones.com Kim Kardashian Is Pregnant and the Patriot Act Is Going to Expire http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2015/05/journalism-isnt-a-job-its-a-lifestyle-you-cant-turn-it-off-what-will-they-name-the-kid-u-think <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>You're just enjoying your Sunday evening when <em>BAM:</em> EXTRA! EXTRA! <strong>PATRIOTISM DEAD</strong>.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">It's official: The Patriot Act's broadest surveillance powers will expire at midnight <a href="http://t.co/U3aKuVPDi0">http://t.co/U3aKuVPDi0</a> <a href="http://t.co/giWfVymzto">pic.twitter.com/giWfVymzto</a></p> &mdash; The Verge (@verge) <a href="https://twitter.com/verge/status/605183678495518720">June 1, 2015</a></blockquote> <p>Then, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Congrats! <a href="https://twitter.com/KimKardashian">@KimKardashian</a> reveals she&rsquo;s pregnant with baby number two: <a href="http://t.co/DweUvDdkh5">http://t.co/DweUvDdkh5</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/KUWTK?src=hash">#KUWTK</a> <a href="http://t.co/0YfSwqRL86">pic.twitter.com/0YfSwqRL86</a></p> &mdash; Kardashians on E! (@KUWTK) <a href="https://twitter.com/KUWTK/status/605191886983135232">June 1, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Journalists live for days like this. I can't help but wonder how <em>The Newsroom</em> would have covered this monumental night.</p></body></html> Contributor Ben's Thoughts Mon, 01 Jun 2015 02:43:13 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 276291 at http://www.motherjones.com Beau Biden, the Vice President's Son, Has Died http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/05/beau-biden-vice-presidents-son-has-died <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2015/05/30/e1ac5a2a-0731-11e5-a428-c984eb077d4e_story.html" target="_blank">RIP</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Joseph Robinette &ldquo;Beau&rdquo; Biden III, the son of Vice President Biden and former state attorney general of Delaware, died Saturday after battling brain cancer for several years.</p> </blockquote> <blockquote> <p>Biden, 46, the oldest son of the vice president and the rising star of a family dynasty, had been admitted recently to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington as he fought the cancer, a battle that his father largely kept private in the last weeks as his son clung to his life.</p> </blockquote> <p>So sad.</p> <p>Here's the Vice President's statement:</p> <blockquote> <p>It is with broken hearts that Hallie, Hunter, Ashley, Jill and I announce the passing of our husband, brother and son, Beau, after he battled brain cancer with the same integrity, courage and strength he demonstrated every day of his life.</p> <p>The entire Biden family is saddened beyond words. We know that Beau&rsquo;s spirit will live on in all of us&mdash;especially through his brave wife, Hallie, and two remarkable children, Natalie and Hunter.</p> <p>Beau's life was defined by service to others. As a young lawyer, he worked to establish the rule of law in war-torn Kosovo. A major in the Delaware National Guard, he was an Iraq War veteran and was awarded the Bronze Star. As Delaware&rsquo;s Attorney General, he fought for the powerless and made it his mission to protect children from abuse.</p> <p>More than his professional accomplishments, Beau measured himself as a husband, father, son and brother. His absolute honor made him a role model for our family. Beau embodied my father's saying that a parent knows success when his child turns out better than he did.</p> <p>In the words of the Biden family: Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known.</p> </blockquote> <p>And the statement from the President:</p> <blockquote> <p>Michelle and I are grieving tonight. Beau Biden was a friend of ours. His beloved family &ndash; Hallie, Natalie, and Hunter &ndash; are friends of ours. And Joe and Jill Biden are as good as friends get.</p> <p>Beau took after Joe. He studied the law, like his dad, even choosing the same law school. He chased a life of public service, like his dad, serving in Iraq and as Delaware&rsquo;s Attorney General. Like his dad, Beau was a good, big-hearted, devoutly Catholic and deeply faithful man, who made a difference in the lives of all he touched &ndash; and he lives on in their hearts.</p> <p>But for all that Beau Biden achieved in his life, nothing made him prouder; nothing made him happier; nothing claimed a fuller focus of his love and devotion than his family.</p> <p>Just like his dad.</p> <p>Joe is one of the strongest men we&rsquo;ve ever known. He&rsquo;s as strong as they come, and nothing matters to him more than family. It&rsquo;s one of the things we love about him. And it is a testament to Joe and Jill &ndash; to who they are &ndash; that Beau lived a life that was full; a life that mattered; a life that reflected their reverence for family.</p> <p>The Bidens have more family than they know. In the Delaware they love. In the Senate Joe reveres. Across this country that he has served for more than forty years. And they have a family right here in the White House, where hundreds of hearts ache tonight &ndash; for Hallie, Natalie, and Hunter; for Joe and for Jill; for Beau&rsquo;s brother, Hunter; his sister, Ashley, and for the entire Biden clan.</p> <p>&ldquo;I have believed the best of every man,&rdquo; wrote the poet William Butler Yeats, &ldquo;And find that to believe it is enough to make a bad man show him at his best or even a good man swing his lantern higher.&rdquo;</p> <p>Beau Biden believed the best of us all. For him, and for his family, we swing our lanterns higher.</p> <p>Michelle and I humbly pray for the good Lord to watch over Beau Biden, and to protect and comfort his family here on Earth.</p> </blockquote> <p>And this old tweet from Beau is heartbreaking:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Happy Birthday to the best coach I could have asked for. Love you Pop. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TBT?src=hash">#TBT</a> <a href="http://t.co/LPf2QxuE9h">pic.twitter.com/LPf2QxuE9h</a></p> &mdash; Beau Biden (@BeauBiden) <a href="https://twitter.com/BeauBiden/status/535554962160631810">November 20, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></body></html> MoJo Sun, 31 May 2015 02:15:08 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 276286 at http://www.motherjones.com Bonus Homecoming Cat Blogging - 30 May 2015 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/bonus-homecoming-cat-blogging-30-may-2015 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Everyone is back home. It took Hilbert about a minute to settle in and recognize everything. Hopper took a little more convincing. She spent several hours sniffing everything in sight before she finally decided things were OK.</p> <p>In the top photo, Hilbert has taken possession of his favorite teal chair. It's as if he never left. Below, Hopper finally hopped into my lap after lunch and purred herself to sleep, which surely means she's now settled in too. If you look closely, you'll also see that my hair is starting to grow back. But you have to look pretty closely.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hilbert_2015_may_30.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 60px;"></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hopper_2015_may_30.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 5px 0px 5px 60px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 30 May 2015 21:39:50 +0000 Kevin Drum 276281 at http://www.motherjones.com Martin O'Malley Is Running for President. Here's What You Need to Know http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/05/martin-omalley-running-president-heres-what-you-need-know <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The wait is over. Martin O'Malley is running for president. The former Maryland governor formally kicked off his quest for the Democratic presidential nomination on Saturday in Baltimore, the city he served as mayor for six years. O'Malley, who has been publicly weighing a bid for years, is aiming to present himself as a solidly progressive alternative to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. But it's going to be an uphill slog&mdash;in the most recent <a href="http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/2016-national-democratic-primary#!selectedpoll=22128" target="_blank">Quinnipiac</a> poll, he received just 1 percent&mdash;56 points behind Clinton, and 14 points behind Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who was an independent until he entered the 2016 Democratic contest.</p> <p>Here are five things you should read about O'Malley right now:</p> <ul><li>He's the "best manager in government today," according to a 2013 profile by Haley Sweetland Edwards at the <a href="http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/may_june_2013/features/should_martin_omalley_be_presi044513.php?page=all" target="_blank"><em>Washington Monthly</em></a>:</li> </ul><blockquote> <p>The truth is, what makes O'Malley stand out is not his experience, his gravitas, nor his familiarity to voters (Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden crush him in those regards). Nor is it exactly his policies or speeches (New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, both rumored presidential aspirants, have cultivated similar CVs). Nor is it that he plays in a band. Nor is it even the <em>Atlantic</em>'s breathless claim last year that he has "the best abs" in politics. (Beneath a photo of the fit governor participating in the Maryland Special Olympics' annual Polar Bear Plunge, the author gushed, "What are they putting in the water in Maryland?") Instead, what makes O'Malley unique as a politician is precisely the skill that was on display in that windowless conference room in downtown Annapolis: he is arguably the best manager working in government today.</p> <p>That may not seem like a very flashy title&mdash;at first blush, "Best Manager" sounds more like a booby prize than a claim a politician might ride to the White House. But in an era where the very idea of government is under assault, a politician&rsquo;s capacity to deliver on his or her promises, to actually make the bureaucracy work, is an underappreciated skill.</p> </blockquote> <ul><li>He pursued a tough-on-crime policing strategy as mayor of Baltimore, according to a recent <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/as-mayor-of-baltimore-omalleys-policing-strategy-sowed-mistrust/2015/04/25/af81178a-ea9d-11e4-9767-6276fc9b0ada_story.html" target="_blank"><em>Washington Post</em></a> article:</li> </ul><blockquote> <p>It was as a crime-busting mayor some 15 years ago that O'Malley first gained national attention. Although he is positioning himself as a progressive alternative to Hillary Clinton, O'Malley also touts a police crackdown during his time as mayor that led to a stark reduction in drug violence and homicides as one of his major achievements.</p> <p>Yet some civic leaders and community activists in Baltimore portray O'Malley&rsquo;s policing policies in troubling terms. The say the "zero-tolerance" approach mistreated young black men even as it helped dramatically reduce crime, fueling a deep mistrust of law enforcement that flared anew last week when [Freddie] Gray died after suffering a spinal injury while in police custody.</p> </blockquote> <ul><li>He's obsessed with the War of 1812 and discussed said obsession in an interview with the <em>Daily Beast</em>'s Ben Jacobs <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/09/the-presidential-hopeful-obsessed-with-the-war-of-1812.html" target="_blank">last September</a>, after dressing up in an 1812-vintage uniform and mounting a horse:</li> </ul><blockquote> <p>Win, lose, or draw, O'Malley said he is enthusiastic about the bicentennial and has read up on past commemorations to prepare. He recalled for <em>The Daily Beast</em> a 100-year-old <em>Baltimore Sun</em> editorial about the centennial in 1914 and searched excitedly through his iPad for it. PBS will broadcast the event nationwide on Saturday night, and it will feature what is planned to be the largest ever mass singing of the "Star-Spangled Banner" and an outdoor concert in Baltimore that will include a rock opera about the War of 1812, and O'Malley's own band, which he referred to simply as "a small little warm-up band of Irish extraction."</p> </blockquote> <ul><li>Though he was the model for the character of Baltimore Mayor Tommy Carcetti on the HBO series <em>The Wire,</em> he is not a huge fan of the show or its creator, David Simon, who <a href="http://davidsimon.com/within-the-acela-cocoon/" target="_blank">described</a> an awkward encounter with the governor last year on an Acela train:</li> </ul><blockquote> <p>This fellow was at the four-top table immediately behind me. I clocked him as we left New York, but as he is a busy man, and as most of our previous encounters have been a little edgy, I told myself to let well enough alone. I answered a few more emails, looked at some casting tapes on the laptop, checked the headlines. And still, with all of that done, we were only just south of Philadelphia.</p> <p>I texted my son: "On the southbound Acela. Marty O'Malley sitting just behind me," then joking, "Do I set it off?"</p> <p>A moment later, a 20-year-old diplomatic prodigy fired back a reply: "Buy him a beer."</p> <p>...I stood up, noticed that Mr. O'Malley was sipping a Corona, and I walked to the cafe car to get another just like it. I came back, put it on the table next to its mate, and said, simply, "You&rsquo;ve had a tough week." My reference, of course, was to the governor's dustup with the White House over the housing of juvenile immigrants in Maryland, which became something of a spitting contest by midweek.</p> <p>Mr. O'Malley smiled, said thanks, and I went back to my seat to inform my son that the whole of the State Department could do no better than he. Several minutes later, the governor of my state called me out and smacked the seat next to him.</p> <p>"Come on, Dave," he said, "we're getting to be old men at this point. Sit, talk."</p> </blockquote> <ul><li>Writing for the <em>Atlantic</em> in December, Molly Ball dubbed O'Malley, "the most ignored candidate of 2016."<em> </em>Another takeaway from the piece, which chronicled his trip to an Annapolis homeless-prevention center that provides job training, might be that <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/12/the-long-shot/382238/" target="_blank">he tries too hard</a>:</li> </ul><blockquote> <p>"I love kale," O'Malley told the chef, Linda Vogler, a middle-aged woman with blond bangs peeking out from a paper toque [who was teaching a cooking class]. "Kale's the new superfood!"</p> <p>"We're learning quinoa next," Vogler said.</p> <p>"You're going to teach what? Keen-wa?," O'Malley asked, genuinely puzzled. "What's keen-wa?"</p> <p>"It looks like birdseed," she replied, hurrying on with the lesson. As the class counted off the seconds it took to boil a tomato, O'Malley changed their "One Mississippi" chant to "One Maryland! Two Maryland!"</p> </blockquote></body></html> MoJo Elections Top Stories Sat, 30 May 2015 14:56:16 +0000 Tim Murphy 276276 at http://www.motherjones.com Literally the Only Good FIFA News You’ll Hear This Week http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/05/virtual-fifa-is-way-better-than-actual-fifa <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Electronic Arts, the gaming company that makes the popular FIFA video game franchise, is bringing women<strong> </strong>to the virtual pitch, adding 12 women's national teams to FIFA 16 this September. &nbsp;</p> <p>From <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2015/05/28/eas-fifa-soccer-game-to-include-womens-national-teams/?mod=ST1" target="_blank">the </a><a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2015/05/28/eas-fifa-soccer-game-to-include-womens-national-teams/?mod=ST1" target="_blank"><em>Wall Street Journal</em></a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>EA announced Thursday that a dozen women's international soccer teams will be included in the coming FIFA 16 game scheduled for release in September. EA didn't say in its announcement why it took so long to mend the gender gap or whether the petition played a role. In an email, EA said it had been considering adding women for years and that it had made the necessary advancements to more accurately represent how the characters run and sprint, for example. The game's motion capturing tracked four members of the U.S. Women's National Team: Sydney Leroux, Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan, and Megan Rapinoe.</p> </blockquote> <p>EA's decision came three years after <a href="https://www.change.org/p/tell-ea-sports-to-include-female-characters-on-their-soccer-games" target="_blank">an online petition called for inclusion</a>&mdash;and right before this year's Women's World Cup starts next week in Canada. (It also came a day before Sepp Blatter <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/30/sports/soccer/fifa-soccer-sepp-blatter-congress-vote.html?_r=0" target="_blank">won his fifth term</a> as FIFA president, with the governing body embroiled in the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/media/2015/05/fifa-corruption-sepp-blatter-historian" target="_blank">ongoing corruption crisis</a>.)</p> <p>Last fall, a group of women's soccer stars, including US forward Abby Wambach, <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/sports/2014/10/01/3574803/womens-soccer-players-file-gender-discrimination-lawsuit-against-fifa-canadian-soccer-association/" target="_blank">filed a gender discrimination lawsuit claim</a> against FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association over the organization's decision to play this year's World Cup games on artificial turf, even though the men's games are played on grass. The group later <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/sports/2015/01/21/3613871/womens-world-cup-players-withdraw-gender-discrimination-claim-in-turf-dispute/" target="_blank">withdrew the suit</a>. And in an <a href="http://time.com/3893949/sepp-blatter-alex-morgan/" target="_blank">interview with <em>Time</em></a>, star US forward Alex Morgan, who will be featured in the new game, said that Blatter didn't recognize her at the 2012 FIFA Player of the Year event&mdash;even though she'd just been named one of the three best women's players in the world.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Sex and Gender Sports Fri, 29 May 2015 20:18:48 +0000 Edwin Rios 276261 at http://www.motherjones.com Friday Cat Blogging - 29 May 2015 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/friday-cat-blogging-29-may-2015 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>For the past two weeks, Hopper and Hilbert have apparently been fighting a rearguard battle over their latest acquisition: a cardboard box. Hilbert took possession first, but Hopper got into the act pretty quickly. Her expression is clearly a declaration that this is <em>her</em> box now, and other cats better stay away. I'm reliably informed that she backed this up with some fancy paw action and sent Hilbert scampering away.</p> <p>And with that, let's all give three cheers for my sister, who has taken such good care of Hilbert and Hopper that we're not sure they'll even recognize us when they come home. I should add that her six weeks of catsitting was an even bigger favor than you might think, given H&amp;H's penchant for destruction of anything left lying around accidentally. But tomorrow they come home. Marian has been catproofing our house for the past week, and on Saturday Karen will deliver the furballs back to us. I'm sure they'll show us very quickly if there are any catproofing spots we missed.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hilbert_2015_may_29.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 60px;"></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hopper_2015_may_29.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 5px 0px 5px 60px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 29 May 2015 18:30:04 +0000 Kevin Drum 276256 at http://www.motherjones.com News Flash: Bill Clinton Has a Pretty High Speaking Fee http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/news-flash-bill-clinton-has-pretty-high-speaking-fee <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/30/us/politics/an-award-for-bill-clinton-came-with-500000-for-his-foundation.html?hp&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;module=second-column-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news" target="_blank">Over in the <em>New York Times</em> today,</a> Deborah Sontag has a 2,000-word piece about a charity called the Happy Hearts Fund. There seem to be two big takeaways: (a) celebrities use their fame to promote their charities, and (b) Bill Clinton usually won't appear at your event for free. His speaking fee is a donation to the Clinton Foundation. In this particular case, Happy Hearts donated $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation, and in return Clinton appeared at their event to receive a lifetime achievement award.</p> <p>I'm racking my brain here. I know I'm partisan about this and would just as soon not attribute dark motives to Clinton. But even putting that aside, what's the story here? Celebrities use their fame to promote their pet causes? Bill Clinton commands a high speaking fee? Is there something that's even unsavory about this, let alone scandalous? Is there something that's out of the ordinary or not already common knowledge? If the story featured, say, George W. Bush instead of Clinton, would I be more outraged? What am I missing?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 29 May 2015 17:36:21 +0000 Kevin Drum 276251 at http://www.motherjones.com A New Poll Has Good News for Pro-Choicers http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/05/pro-choice-pro-life-abortion-gallup <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>After seven years on the outs, choice is back. For the first time since 2008, significantly more Americans identify as pro-choice (50 percent) than pro-life (44 percent), according to a <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/183434/americans-choose-pro-choice-first-time-seven-years.aspx" target="_blank">Gallup poll</a> released Friday.</p> <p>"This is the first time since 2008 that the pro-choice position has had a statistically significant lead in Americans' abortion views," the survey notes. In the intervening years, Americans were split fairly evenly on the issue of abortion&mdash;except in 2012, when pro-life sentiment outpaced pro-choice views 50 percent to 41 percent.</p> <p>The poll found that in the past three years, women have become more pro-choice (54 percent) than men (46 percent). Since 2012, Democrats, Republicans and independents have all become increasingly pro-choice. But Democrats show the biggest long-term jump in pro-choice views, from 55 percent in 2001 to 68 percent today. By contrast, 30 percent of Republicans were pro-choice in 2001 and 31 percent identify as pro-choice today&mdash;a statistically insignificant change.</p> <p>The years since the last pro-choice peak in 2008 have been rough for abortion rights advocates. Republican legislatures across the country have sought to roll back access to abortions&mdash;banning the procedure after 20 weeks (and even earlier in some cases), requiring additional doctor visits and ultrasounds, and placing onerous regulations on clinics that forced many to shut their doors. Gallup didn't touch on these issues, simply noting that "the momentum for the pro-life position that began when Barack Obama took office has yielded to a pro-choice rebound."</p> <p>Gallup raised the possibility that abortion views are riding on the coattails of a "broader liberal shift in Americans' ideology of late" that "could mean the recent pro-choice expansion has some staying power."</p></body></html> MoJo Reproductive Rights Fri, 29 May 2015 17:07:48 +0000 Pema Levy 276246 at http://www.motherjones.com If You Want to Be Part of the Top 1 Percent, You'd Better Be Working For a Top 1 Percent Firm http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/if-you-want-be-part-top-1-youd-better-be-working-top-1-firm <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>What has caused the explosive growth of income inequality over the past three decades? Is it the fact the CEO pay has skyrocketed, leaving everyone else behind? Maybe. <a href="http://www.nber.org/papers/w21199.pdf" target="_blank">But according to a new paper,</a> that's not quite the right story.</p> <p>Basically a group of researchers at NBER have concluded that inequality <em>between firms</em> has skyrocketed, and employees of those firms all go along for the ride. A small number of "super firms" have become enormously successful, and within these super firms inequality between the CEO and the worker bees hasn't changed much at all. They pay <em>all</em> their employees more than the average firm, from the CEO down.</p> <p>The chart on the right tells the story. Ignore the green line for the moment and just look at the blue and red lines. The red line shows that the top tenth of firms have far outperformed everyone else. The blue line shows <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_firm_individual_income_inequality.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">that workers follow the same pattern. The ones who work for the top firms get paid a lot more than the folks who work for average firms.</p> <p>As it turns out, some industries have more super firms than others and thus contribute more to growing income inequality. The FIRE sector&mdash;Finance, Insurance, Real Estate&mdash;is the most obvious example. Both firm revenue and individual compensation has gone up far more than in any sector. But other sectors have their superstars too, and individuals at those firms get paid a lot more than a similar worker at a firm that's not doing so well.</p> <p>So in addition to talking about the top 1% of individuals, we should be talking about the top 1% of firms. But what does that mean? Things get a little hazy at this point:</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Instead of top incomes rising within firms, top-paying firms are now paying even higher wages.</strong> This may tend to make inequality more invisible, as individuals do not see rising inequality among their peers. More research needs to be done to understand why inequality between firms has increased so much more than inequality within them. <strong>But this fact of stable inequality within firms should inform our understanding of the great increase in inequality within the United States over the last three decades.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/05/29/economists-have-figured-out-whos-really-to-blame-for-inequality/" target="_blank">Matt O'Brien suggests</a> that this means nearly every industry is now part of the winner-take-all economy. In the same way that modern technology allows a tiny subset of superstar singers or actors to earn huge audiences (and huge paychecks), perhaps it also enables modern firms to do the same. And it could be self-reinforcing. The super firms can afford to hire the best workers, and that in turn drives even more unequal growth.</p> <p>In any case, if the authors are right, it matters a lot which firm you work for. If you pick the right one, you might ride the income inequality gravy train right to the top. In not, you probably won't.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 29 May 2015 15:53:59 +0000 Kevin Drum 276241 at http://www.motherjones.com